Patrick Merrell’s New York Times crossword
Last year I had trouble with the Friday and Saturday puzzles when I subbed for Amy on ACPT weekend. This year I think I’m a better solver, so I just wanted to at least finish the puzzles when I’m here in front of y’all. So maybe going out for St Patrick’s Day was not such a good idea. I’m tipsy, I’m tired, and I failed. (hic!)
Hey, Patrick’s puzzle, on St. Patrick’s Day! (hic!) Well, the day after, but I “solved” this on St. Patrick’s Day. Which I spent at an Irish bar, listening to bagpipe music. Which I was gonna joke about, but there is actually (hic!) a national bagpipe of Ireland. Who knew?
- 22a. [Worms cries] is ACHS. I got that, because they had a diet there.
- 61a. [Was irritated and made some noise about it?] clues SNEEZED. I sneeze a lot, and (hic!) I almost always sneeze in pairs. If not, then 3 or more–I never sneeze a singleton.
- 2d. [What may be coming after you] is ARE. I assume as in “so beautiful”, “the sunshine of my life”, or “here”. I had VEE.
- 6d. SLOW NEWS DAY is the best thing in the puzzle.
- 22d. [Like something you heard] cluing AURAL is the worst thing in the puzzle. Even worse than buying TIX at the B.O. or OON.
- 24d. (hic!)
- 30d. (HEC!)
Okay, I’m (hic!) actually more tired than tipsy, so I’ll wrap it up here.
Bruce Venzke’s CrosSynergy/Washington Post puzzle, “Sales Talk”—Janie’s review
On the surface of it (and as the clue at 69-Across confirms), this is a pretty straight-forward “synonym” puzzle: [Sales person's forte, and a synonym for the ends of this puzzle's three longest entries] SPIEL. But look at how just how lively those three longest entries are:
- 20A. PITTER-PATTER [Sound of little feet].
- 39A. LAYS IT ON THE LINE [Speaks completely truthfully]. Hmmm. An interesting inclusion in a theme about salesmanship… Unless you know the guy or gal, it can be difficult to know whether or not to trust an EARNEST [Extremely sincere] salesperson. Nature of the line of work. My dad was a salesman and I’ve done my own time in retail sales, so I know of what I speak.
- 56A. PERFECT PITCH [Unfailing tone recognition]. Love this term and its usage, in both literal and figurative examples.
Now, if you’re on the receiving end of any too-slick spiel, patter, line or pitch, and find you still can’t resist, please do your best to get a FAIR DEAL—which I see as today’s bonus fill, even if it is clued administratively as [Truman program]. And if the salesperson is a SOURPUSS [Grouchy sort], by all means, run—don’t walk!
Cluing highlights today give us the likes of the non-Guinness-related [Record holder?] for EX-CON; [Grave letters?] for R.I.P. (with its mournful complement BEREAVE [Make grief-stricken]); [They're occasionally loaded] for BASES (this non-alcohol-related combo is a nice complement to [Speakeasy opponents] for DRYS); [Kind of circus?] for MEDIA; and my fave today, the non-covert-ops-related [Went undercover?] for SLEPT.
With a nod to the armed forces and government we also see:
- UNIT [Military group]
- PFC [Cpl's inferior] and that perpetual private, BEETLE [Bailey of the comics]
- NAVAL [Like the Annapolis Academy] and PLEBE [Annapolis freshman]
- NORAD [Canada-United States defense org.], the North American Aerospace Defense Command—those fine folks who, among other responsibilities, track Santa’s sleigh each Christmas.
Dan Naddor’s Los Angeles Times crossword
The theme is (48d.) OUTING, and there are 5 wacky phrases that result from remov the ING ending from wackless base phrases.
- 17a. [Lodging surplus?] turns baseball’s extra innings into the EXTRA INNS of, uh, Hotel World?
- 20a. Gianni Versace takes an American creation consisting of a mixture of water, oil, vinegar, black pepper, minced onions, bell peppers, sugar, herbs, and spices and turns it into an ITALIAN DRESS.
- 37a. One who’s [Misplaced Yogi and Smokey?] has LOST ONE’S BEARS only if Yogi and Smokey were one’s bears to start with. And whoever ONE is, she also has a UNIT of blood (52a.).
- 58a. A BRITISH SHILL isn’t a plant that grows in the ground, it’s a person who poses as a customer at Sotheby’s in order to decoy others into participating.
- 62a. SILK STOCK. With SILK in place, I tried to see if STALK would work. Silk Stalkings is a tv show I remember only because of a Tina Fey bit here.
Actually, the whole STOCK area was tricky. None of the downs came easy (kil. for kilometers in a LT YR, the Valentine’s OOO hugs, the old Honda CRX, KEY), and I couldn’t think of the ROXY theater. This little corner probably took a third of my time.
Some down notes:
- 1d. TRE is a little past due because it’s the Italian word for three.
- 6d. DUNLOP is a [Maker of tires and tennis balls], while (43a.) YAMAHA is a [Maker of pianos and bikes]. And more–I actually used a Yamaha tennis racket back in the day. The Gold 90, if you’re keeping score. I loved that racket.
- 10d. [Met expectations?] is OPERAS because Dan strains his use of “expectations” to make this work.
- 16d. ASSNS crossing (31a.) STNS is not great, but that’s what happens when you fit in 60 theme squares, including stacked theme entries and a reveal.
- 23d. With Kxxx in place for [__ Ration], I couldn’t think of what more the answer needed. It’s KEN-L Ration dog food, not army food in WWII.
Jim Leeds’ Chronicle of Higher Education crossword, “University Recruiting”
Collegiate puns. The names of Midwestern universities are punned as purported marketing slogans for their schools. Just in time for day 2 of round 1 of the NCAA tournament!
The 20-14 Golden Eagles of the Big East is SUPER MARQUETTE. Tonight, at 7:27 pm EDT, they will play the 24-7 Musketeers of the Atlantic 10 Conference. That is, HEAVENLY XAVIER. I picked Xavier, because I like Xavier’s X better than Marquette’s Q.
One team not appearing in the tournament is the 7-24 Blue Demons, who finished 1-17 in the Big East. But they’ve been good in the past, so maybe KEEP YOUR EYE ON DEPAUL in the future.
The puns, by the way, are for “market”, “savior”, and “the ball”.
Some other stuff:
- 13a. No idea how RADIO is a [Depression-era cathedral]. I didn’t look it up because I won’t remember anyway, but I’m sure someone will tell me.
- 49a. Also don’t know what joins Paradise in Moore’s Paradise and the PERI, but I won’t remember that either.
- 60a. I do know the Ramones’ I WANNA Be Sedated. Because I know the Ramones, not because of anything I may have implied about myself with last night’s (hic!) NYT write-up.
- 5d. A hero is a POOR BOY in New Orleans, and a po’ boy in N’awlins.
- 22d. Salinger wrote For ESMÉ – with Love and Squalor. Which you knew, but I never pass up a chance to link to the story. I love that story.
Michael Sharp’s Wall Street Journal crossword, “Pimp My Ride”
I’m off to lunch, and I’ll say more about Michael’s puzzle later. Which won’t be hard, as I’m saying nothing yet. Toodles!
Updated Friday afternoon:
I’m published! Okay, Michael Sharp wrote the puzzle, but when he tweeted in January about needing a 10-letter entry for “carmake (i.e. FORD) + famouslastnamethatsoundslikecarmodel”, I twittered back. And one of my suggestions was KIA SPECTOR. Which is in this puzzle. Which has been published! My most crosswordy suggestions were GMC YOKO ONO and SUZUKI EERO, and I am not surprised he had better options to go with…
Actually, I should say that most of the credit for this puzzle goes to Michael Sharp, but some to Mike Shenk as well. Today’s tweeting reports that most of the non-theme entries between 33a. EMIGRE and 97a. STYES were rewritten, as well as the far NW corner. Oh well, I guess I’ll just refer to the constructor as MS and call it good.
- 23a. HONDA Pilot, you’d be a perfect [Vehicle custom-made for a biblical judge?], Pontius PILATE.
- 29a. FORD Torus, meet [...12-time Olympic swimming medalist] Dara TORRES.
- 34a. SUBARU Forrester, meet [...20th-century British novelist] E.M. FORSTER.
- 50a. TOYOTA Prius, meet Reince PRIEBUS. I knew Michael “MS” Steele was out, but I did not remember the name of the new RNC chairman. He’s probably the first famous Reince, too, so be prepared for that first name.
- 61a. VOLKSWAGEN Passat, meet Mary CASSATT, an [...American Impressionist] I couldn’t remember.
- 78a. PORSCHE Cayman, meet [...sci-fi/fantasy/comic book author] Neil GAIMAN. Who I, yes, did not remember. This brings us the worst cross of the day, 80d. MAUS, a [Pulitzer-winning graphic novel subtitled "A Survivor's Tale"]. I guessed right on the M, but I was not confident.
- 88a. HYUNDAI Azera, meet [...Emmy-winning voice actor] Hank AZARIA. Him, I remembered.
- 98a. KIA Spectra, meet the sometimes Mozart-haired convicted murderer, [...legendary record producer], and all around crazy man Phil SPECTOR.
- 107. Finally, BUICK Riviera, meet [...Fox News personality] Geraldo RIVERA.
Lots of other people (and one moon) in here I couldn’t remember the name of either, and I was unfamiliar with some of the car base models. So a tricky solve.